The Connection Between Religious Symbolism and Fashion 


When it comes to religion and fashion, it’s very difficult to connect these two terms. As per religious ideologies, there is no place for modern people and people must wear traditional garments in order to show their devotion and follow the ritual. Still while worshipping or performing ceremonies priests from different communities are wearing liturgical vestments following religious beliefs and ideologies.

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Further in this article, you will get insights into the connection between religious symbolism and fashion amongst different religions.



You can make a clear distinction of Catholic religion based on clothing style and fashion. The vestment in catholic tradition has been changed over the decades. The Roman catholic garments are symbolised by a liturgical vestment that is to be only worn by the priest.

The different part of catholic vestment includes an amice, alb, cincture, stole, and chasuble. Besides traditional vestments, wearing pieces of jewellery like the Cross is a sign of Catholic religion. The cross sign is the symbol of faith for all Christians.  Also during weddings, white dresses are to be worn that depicts purity, goodness and innocence.



Like every religion, even Islam has traditional clothing but they don’t give much importance to liturgical vestment and traditional clothing as compared to other religions. Most Islamic women can be recognised by their dressing style.

You will find them wearing Niqab and Hijab covering their face and head. Since most of the bodies of Islamic women are covered there is no specific fashion symbol to identify them.  As a part of fashion, you won’t see traditional Islamic men wearing gold or silk garments as it is forbidden in their religion.

The regular fashion for men includes shirts and pants made of cotton commonly known as kurta and pyjama. Also, at the time of entering the mosque people are always wearing white clothing commonly known as Ihram. It is a sacred fashion in which they perform the hajj (Islamic ritual prayer performed five times a day)



As a part of Judaism culture, Jewish have always followed the traditional fashion style as a part of religious symbolism. The religious garment of the upper class of priests includes the mantle, an upper garment commonly known as the ephod, a breastplate and a headdress.

Different pieces of jewellery and attachments are usually worn as a religious symbol that depicts their religious fashion. The modern fashion style in Judaism has changed significantly.

You will see Jewish leaders, especially while praying to wear knee-length robes usually made of white cotton. The style code of liturgical vestment has changed significantly with relevance to the origin of religious fashion.



A large community of Buddhist people have always been following religious symbolism as their clothing style and fashion. The Buddhist traditional vestment is a simple monk’s robe in orange or golden colour. The robe is commonly known as chivara and these robes are made using rags from different pieces of garments.

The Buddhist vestment chivara consists of 3 different parts of the garment. It includes the inner robe to be worn by 5 strips of clothes. Similarly, the outer robe is to be worn by making 7 strips and lastly, the final robe is formed by 9, 15, 25 strips.

The Buddhist clothing style and fashion don’t include any ornaments or jewellery to symbolise their religion. They have a pretty simple and same style of dressing throughout their life.



There is not much difference between traditional and regular fashion and clothing styles in the Hinduism community. Traditionally, Hindu women mostly wear saree which can be worn in different styles. Along with it, you will find Hindu women wearing different types of jewellery including gold necklaces, earrings, nose rings and much more.

During traditional occasions, even Hindu men wear kurta pyjamas as a traditional fashion with modern accessories like watches, bracelets, etc. Sometimes you will also find men wearing angarkha. These are small coats that are to be worn over shirts or kurta. This religious symbolism of Hindu clothing allows you to look fashionable even in modern clothing.

The link between religious symbolism and fashion

The difference in religious ideologies


Due to differences in religious ideologies, there has been a different visual identity for different religions. Following religious ideologies, people have created different identities that have become a new fashion style. This is a dynamic concept and is based on what people believe and feel comfortable in.

With religious ideologies, traditional clothing style has undergone several changes over the decades. Fashion has become an expression to state your identity. You don’t always have to reject fashion in order to show religious symbolism. Different religions have ideologies.

Sacred and secular fashion style

When it comes to religious symbolism to depict fashion statements either you can choose sacred fashion style or secular fashion style. Sacred fashion and clothing style brings cultural implications and the identity of your religion. If you are following the religious rule a particular fashion is always associated with it.

A secular fashion and garments are not related to religious symbolism. It is to be worn only at the time of performing any rituals. It provides a common theme ofRel clothing to be worn without symbolically related to traditional styles. The gender-biased religious fashion style imposed on women separates religious culture from modern ideologies.

The Bottom-line

This is how religious symbolism and fashion coexist together. Several religious communities are slowly changing and adapting to modern fashion. As a part of the larger community, people must have the freedom and choice of selecting between traditional clothing and modern fashion.

There are still several religious groups that emphasize the importance of traditional fashion especially to be worn during rituals or ceremonies. They are considered to symbolise religious beliefs and devotion towards their religion. But you must be adaptive to social change and bring change in the traditional social norms.